tv History Bookshelf CSPAN April 25, 2015 4:00pm-4:46pm EDT
ckley jr. this program is about 45 minutes. it is a pleasure for us to put on this event the heritage foundation each month. the purpose of the event is to highlight the most outstanding conservative women in america. it gives me great pleasure today to introduce one of these outstanding women priscilla buckley whose new book is titled living it up with "national review", a memoir. it's a wonderful book. i read it this weekend. and i really enjoyed it. i think priscilla would probably
agree that it's the unofficial history of "national review" as it includes some memorable events in the magazine's history that won't necessarily get mentioned in the official histories. priscilla's brother william f. buckley writes in the forward to her book that after he founded "national review" he reached out for an experienced editorial hand dragging priscilla from an exotic life as a reporter and editor ipparis into the indiggant billet of a struggling to be born venture in opinion journalism. priscilla returned from paris in 1956 to work on brother bill's brand new weekly magazine "national review". but first priscilla took a month off to do what she loved best, quail hunting in the morning golfing in the afternoon, and partying with good friends at night.
priscilla buckley graduated from smith college in 1953 and worked for a year as a copy girl and sports writer for united pres. she spent four years as a radio rewrite staffer next she lived in paris france where she was a united press correspondent and she has a wonderful book of string of pearls which tells of those years in paris she also work trd the cia for a couple of years in the 1950s. now when her brother asked her to become managing editor at "national review" she writes iin her book if i agreed to be managing editor it wouldy long-term, a career at "national review" agreat deal of responsibility and very little money. she decided what would make the mix palatable was plenty of time off to take the kind of vacations many of them off beat that she really enjoyed. so she told her brother she would take the job providing it was understood that she would have six weeks off every year to vabs however she liked and he wisely agreed and she shares
details of some of the most fascinating vacations and trips she took during her six weeks a year and it reading them just make mise ciyakking vacations in -- it makes my kayaking vacations in maine seem very dull. she includes the big news stories of 50 years of "national review" including things likeberry goldwater's nomination to be president in 1964 and president reagan's election to the presidency in 1980 she writes about the excitement we felt when therbrother jim buckley was elected to the u.s. senate on the conservative party line in the 1970s what was a great and rare victory that was before our side starting winning things with reagan and having rush limbow and before we had voices of fairness and balance in the media and we're delighted
jim's wife is here with us today. thank you so much for coming today but prisella tells of the smaller and important events today. some many current leader of our nation, communication writers and policy started careers as interns and editorial assistance and corspoddants and "national review" and she tells lovely and heart warking stories about these young people she writes of the money -- many wonderful leaders who work to make "national review" a success and to finally turn a profit. she tells of the challenges of working with what she calls a brilliant but combustible cast of character, the intellectuals and writers and statesman who built the most formidable movement, the american conservative movement. the cover photo, let me hold it up for you again, shows a lovely www.c-span.org -- shows a lovely donkey that "national review" that the staff sent to liberal harvard professor arthur schregs chinger
junior as a prize when he predrikted most closely, they had a contest for the presidential prommary numbers and the electoral college so they sent him this dunky took a -- sent him his donkey, took a picture before hand. he didn't care for the gift and sent the donkey back by return mail, but his brother jim and anne here took the donkey home to their farm where for a time the children enjoyed playing with the liberal professor's jackass. [laughter] lastly, one of my favorite stories in the book is about a couch. there a certain very brilliant but difficult political philosopher who wrote and was involve would "national review" for a time. priscilla writes that his private devils kept him from producing the bodies of serious work he was capable of but he did leave a concrete mark of sorts. somewhere in the current, bright and modern new "national review"
office in new york sit sits a broken down leather sofa known to the old timers as the will more kindle or alternativeal memorial couch. suzanne had arrived in the office early one day to take care of pressing editorial matters only to find will more and the assistant copy editor engaged of a business of quite a different sort on her couch. that morning when bill buckley had just settled himself as his type writer his office dar was flung open and suzanne stormed in thundering there will be no fornication in my office. [laughter] and the assistant copy editor was fired. you get a sense that throughout the years the people in the know up there would probably come into the room where the memorial couch sat and give it a sidelong glance and smile. rumor has it that the couch was on loan in the 1990s to the clinton white house. i don't know if that's true.
[laughter] this is a wonderful book written by a wonderful lady whose led a remarkable life and writes about the events of her life in a truly engaging and delightful way. please join me in cellcoming a -- in welcoming a great conservative who's sent spent her life working for our lives and believes. priscilla buckley. [applause] >> good afternoon. it's a great pleasure to be here today. and it's not going to be a very serious talk. [laughter] when "national review" celebrated its 50th anniversary here in washington last november, it was at a huge banquet at the national building museum. earlier that day, bill buckley was given a white house
reception, and he and his wife pat had a private lunch with president and mrs. bush. a couple of weeks ago, the american society of magazine editors, the most prestigious organization in the field, gave bill its lifetime achievement award. this was a far cry, indeed, from "national review"'s early reception by the then liberal intel jensia, the people george wallace called the pointy heads. back then in the mid-1950s conservatism was considered dead, dead as the etsl. linm trilling provided an off hand obituary of it writing that quote in the united states at this time, liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition. a dismissal of such olympian dimensions that the name of the
deceased american conservatism was not mentioned so irrelevant that it did. the establishments "national review" was to ignore it. with any luck, it would founder because after all, the fill osraphy was preposterous, but nr refused to go away. it was becoming an active annoyance. thus six month or so so after its arrival on the scene in november, 1955, the liberals rolled out their big guns, a triple sell voe intended to blast the inteloper out of the water. boom went john fisher. editor of harper's lengthy and ponderous critique. boom, boom, followed dwight mcdonald all condescension and commentary. boom, boom, boom, went mary kempten, bringing the 18
pounders to bear in what was intended as the cue degrau. -- the coup de grace. they all came to the same conclusion. conservative journal was needed, but "national review" was not it. bill summed it up in his reply in the august 1, 1956 issue of nr, all three of the jurnls harpers commentary, the progressive, seemed to represent the mere existence of "national review", not understanding as they're intolerant of descent there is nothing they would welcome more than not genuine descent but because it pains them to be bored by it and when they are not be bored by it, they are being afraunted by its vulgaritario appalled by its insouckyance and displayed by its ignorance. nothing absolutely nothing is more absolutely needed than a real conservative magazine but
alas ours is no such thing and they must accordingly scan the heavens for it. but "national review" still refused to go away or to be intimidated. in young david sling there was a weapon the liberal establishment as an establishment was incapable of handling or dismising it was in a word "national review"'s inprp at any time nns its ability to hold up to ridical many things lebberals held dear. to make fun of subject as the peace movement and as hand maiden disarmament. when a break down in another series of disarmament talks was reported bill assigned an editorial on it oo a young staff member tim wheeler who came up with the following, quote, disarmament talks recessed at geneva after seven months of fruitless negotiations .
disarmaments is fruless after seven tauks of negotiate ass dearmed to talk less and seven -- after seven talks of negotiations. everybody renewed his lease for january. well the kennedy administration tried to put a good face on the deteriorating china situation, "national review"'s comments comment was, having looked and looked and looked for the new frontier we finally spotted it last week when the negotiatators forgathered in geneva to seal the fate, laos 500 miles closer than the old frontiers these put downs baffled the liberal keeples and we young turks giggled at thir disaramt -- at their disarray. "national review" has of course received the attention it deserves for its major accomplishments. in providing the intellectual scaffolding for the modern american conservative movement that broad ronald reagan to the
white house and with him the collapse of the soviet union and the end of the cold war. george gnash wrote a book its early years and senior editor jeffrey hart has just published the maker of the american conservative mind "national review" and its times. isi has also in recent years brought out two biographies of two of the most influlgs of its -- a two of the most influentials -- two of its most influential editors, james burnham and franks. meyer all of which is good and proper and a well deserved earning tribute to "national review"'s success but i'm mused on it seemed to me that something very important in the nr story was missing from these official accounts and that was the spirited nature of the early enterprise, what a roller coaster ride it had been. we who ran nr back then were very young and were we ever full of beans. we relished sticking our thumbs
in the big domes in the academy. that we were have agwhale of a good time had gone unreport in the officialistries and -- in the official histories and biographies. which is why it occurred to me as a longtime managing editor i should write a book about what fun it was to work at "national review". it would include hijinks and jokes tell a bit about the characters who troupe under to our quarters on east 35th street in new york, the artists cartoonists and poet. the odd ball contributors sweet and unsweet disposition. the streams of young people who did tedious lifting that publishlishing a biweekly magazine requires. many of these later went on to distinguish careers. george wheel, the columnest and pulilitieser prize winner, tony -- and pulitzer prize winner, tony doln, and head speech writer for ronald reagan, peter
raurenson who wrote the mr. garb -- who wrote the mr. gorbachev tear down this wall speech. the conservative columnist and author. editorial page editor of "the wall street journal," david brooks new york times columnist and mark shields is sparring partner. richard brook husbander the distinguished historian of founding fathers: washington hamilton, adams and marlin. and longtime ballet critic for the new yorker the list goes on and on. but i would also talk about the many others less known to the general public who ated a dash -- who added a -- -- added a dash of tabasco to what became the magazine's trademark. as often irreverent editorial paragraphs most important among these latter were bill ricken balker chris simmons and joe soeb rn.
bill ricken bacher wrote two weeks after lbj became president, the editors of "national review" regretfully announce that their patience with president lyndon johnson is exhausted. [laughter] which "time" magazine characterized as the impetuosity of the week. it was joe soburn who commented in the issue celebrating ronald reagan's election with the election of ronald reagan, gnash review assumes a new importance in american life. we've become as it were an established organ. and we feel that only appropriate to alter or demeanor accordingly. this is a therefore the last issue in which we shall indulge in levity. connoisseurs of humor will have to get their yuckers elsewhere. we have a nation to run. this last should have been label would a j for joke because a number of more sober readers took it seriously. [laughter] perhaps my favorite of all paragraphs was tim
wheeler's lighthearted comment on the mt. st. helens eruption in 1980 quote, i'm sorry i made an ash of myself. lava come back to me. love, helen. i would call my book living it up with "national review" so that no one would confuse it bea serious historical work and add to the title the words a memwar which would allow me to include in it a number of nonmagazine related trips and adventures that had come my way in the six weeks vacation i took every year. some of them such as exploring of ankara walk -- the ruins of an kara -- ruins of angkor wat.
flowing down the river, landing this was landed in the middle of saulsbering in a hot air balloon and hunting in mozambique much has been written about bill's sensitivity and diplomacy in managing the brilliant but combustible founding editors of "national review" and of his other pulemical and intellectual skills. but in my opinion his genius as editor has been underrated as a major factor in the success of the enterprise. it was in his role as editor that i worked most closely with him and could evault his -- and could evaluate his effectfness. what was of paramount importance to him in editing "national review" was that the writing be distinguished. it seemed to him more important that a writer write beautiful prose than thet he be a movement conservative. indeed some of the people we publish never were conserve ative. young john leonard later editor of the sunday "new york times" book review certainly was not and is not.
some started out as conservative or perhaps nonideological and ended up as liberals gary wells, joan diddian and her husband john gregory dunn among them. what they had in common were all of them were pro-stylist and nr profited from their skills at least for a while. finally what bill had was the courage of his editorial convictions and a spark that makes all the difference the highly competitive magazine world. he did on one occasion when he thought it important devote an entire issue of the magazine to michael novac's rebuttal of the catholic's bishop policy pape -- bishops policy on a just war. his division to write his own set of pentagon papers to counter the danielelsberg version that "the new york times" and "the washington post" had splashed all over their front pages took courage and panache.
the idea came to him as he told an enraged press -- when ben bag diggian, editor of the waups -- editor of "the washington post" professed shock,er and serious lack of professor in his -- lack of professionalism in his pentagon papers bill buckley responded amiably. " dr. mr. , in as much as you published 2000 words from the papers would you agree the reprint fee? i would suggest $150. " [laughter] bill's precision as an editor led to one of our more successful capers what came to be called the swiss edition. bill had just left for his annual two weeks in switzerland where he wrote his annual book and in a heady moment we decided to craft two pages of editorial paragraphs containing those elements that would make bill the editor curl up inside and
die. a grammatical irer a stylistic aberration, too many exclamation points aival grism an overworked clishay, an inept foreign reverence a tinge of cookery, a mention of himself. the bogus paragraphs chosen from entry by every member of the editorial staff were paste under two copies of the issue of march 15, 1974, by art director jimmy o' brien and dispatched. a few days later france sis brawnson bill's secretary was on the wireane state of shock. -- on the wire in a state of shock. better brace yourselves she said. a memorandum had come in from bill like nothing she had ever seen. it was a -- the paragraphs in the march 15 issue he wrote are truly appalling. how course to refer to proxmire's hair replant operation.
[laughter] the concludeing sentence is a rhetorical disaster why on earth make fun of justice douglas's artificial heart i wish i could destroy every copy of this issue. to bring it into a comment over john's excitement over a prize fight what i think should be blue penciled the john birch society magazine. the seizure of in this section is quite impossible to understand. the paraenthetical remark is on a level of governor malcolm wilson, no relation to harold , and makes me weep. why the exclammation point? by the way the cumullive count on this page is now five. i'm very sad. [laughter] we had succeeded beyond all expectations. but we were not altogether pleased with our selve. the hurt had been too deep, even though bill was assured that he
and only he had seen those particular paragraphs. when bill considered he had been too long out of college to continue pis original nr column -- continue his original nr column called the ivy tower, he came up with an innovative idea for a column that would be new and very different. he called it notes insides what it was was an ongoing dialogue between the editor and his readers with no subject out of bounds or too -- to be considered. this gave the readers a look not only at the inner workers of nr but also a feeling that they by their comments and suggestions were make agcontribution to the enterprise one suggestionane letter to notes in asides resulted in the institution of a two-page cartoon spread. another resulted in an nr's
adoption of the serial comma in its style book yet another brought the talented linda bridges to bill's attention and she's been a main stay of nr ever since. notes and aicides was more than just fun and games, but fun and games were what gave it its pizazz. for instance, very shorly after jim buckley was elected to the senate, bill buckley appeared thonroin and martin laughian show on television. everyone but everyone tuned in on the show on saturday nights those days, including a lawyer in buffalo new york. he went screaming from his tv set to his type writer and wrote a letter to the honorable question mark senator james l. buckley. which was received -- which was record its notes and asides two weeks later. sir, now that my nausea has subsided after accidently observing your appearance on laugh in last evening, as as one
of your constituents and former admirers am contrained to comment. your silly grin as the innane and vulgar questions were asked and are equally innane replied were less than worthy of the senator of the united states. the fact that you appeared on that program a all was an insult to the decent people whom you represent. the disgusting episode in which you freely participated and apparently enjoyed as an accomplice in lending your position to a disgraceful program is an affront to the dignity of the senate, to your family, to your church, and to your constituency. i trust that you are acting the clown -- i trust that you're acting the clown. ensure the addicts of the program who undoubtedly enjoy its indecency. i trust too they are in a minority. i am. jim's reply.
sir, i have forwarded your letter to my brother the columnist william f buckley, jr. it was he, not i who appeared on laugh in. i cannot help by but curious why you consents today watch a program of which you so strongly disapprove. sincerely james l. buckley followed by bill's clarification to the lawyer sir it is typical of my brother to attempt to deceive his constituents [laughter] it was of course, he, not i, who appeared on laugh in. just as you suspected. on the other hand you have nothing to worry about. the greatest deception is as yet ubdiscovered it was i not he elected to the senate. [laughter] so you see you have nothing to worry about. you are represented by a responsible truth for. yours, william f buckley.
in one issue it might contain outrage such as the above or perhaps an even shorter and spicier attack. dear mr. buckley, your syntax is horrible, roy kelly, illinois. to which bill replied, dr. mr. kelly, if you had my sin tax you'd be rich, wfb. or perhaps a bit of whimsy that struck our friend as he peru's the daily news. dear mr. buckley, i see that the senator from south dakota made a speech in a church. do you suppose we could get hubert humphrey and jacob jabts to debate in a temple? that would be a case of a demagogue and a pedagogue having a dialogue in a synagogue. or bill might use notes and asides to set the record straight as he diddane letter to san francisco chronicle columnist.
con had written it was to peter mars's lovely sad eye's wife audry that bill buckley said what is the secret behind those sad eyes. departing hastily when autedry replied, it is the sadness of a socialist looking at a fascist republican. bill's reply, a, i have never laid eyes on mrs. moss as far as i know. b, i have said to anyone what is -- i have never said to anyone in -- to anyone what is the secret behind those sad eyes and c, if mrs. maus or anyone else had proffered such an explanation to me, her trouble would not be sad eyes but black and blue eyes. [laughter] a young blond and at that point rolly pollee christopher simans joined the staff in 1967. he was amazingly versatile bright and arresting writer and competent in all sorts of fields. he soon took charge of a number
of an slary products including -- of ancillary products, including what became a burgeoning business for nr, the sail of custom made political buttons commenting on everything from a miniaturizing the eschaton to chaumby of cutongo. in this capacity in notes and asides to the editor from the minister of buttons or antimoratorium buttons are the biggest hit yet. true pearson had said something ugly about surely. our department mailed out 4 ,757 buttons so far and theredders continue to come in. some button buyers cause trouble by one, writing messy undecipherable names and addresses and two forgetting to include payment these make life -- to include payment.
these make life difficult for the shipping department who has conseted to marry me so of course i want to keep her healthy and happy. item appeared in the summer issue in 1968, just prior to the republican national convention. i thought you would like to see a mutinous memorandum by one of the editors addressed to his colleagues and written after receiving one memorandum to many from the publisher carefully explaining what is going to happen in miami. from william f redenbacher to william a rush's memos dated 1962 3:3068, 531 68, i went to
you to make mike addition your effectively pure. if rockefeller fails on the first ballot, romney squares with percy, and authority and russia remain about the conflict, then mckinley is a shoo-in. if however stefan and it doing announced nixon before the fifth ballot they arrive at an understanding with nixon, and rockefeller undercuts reagan's early strength white divorcing happy and repairing the former miss clark. -- remarrying the former is ms. clark. charles percy of illinois will be the immediate, i know means final and a fisheries. -- by no means final beneficiaries.
in this event, i would look forward to a broken convention. [laughter] what fun we had, while never forgetting our goal -- to make conservatism intellectually acceptable to read it of all taint of irrational prejudice of racism and anti-semitism, to deplore both of fanaticism that allowed liberals to embrace communism and you team -- the utopianism of socialism. whether the conspiracy theories of the john birch society, or ayn rand's appeals to a godless, dollar worshiping society, we are for a society in the american conservative tradition, and our heroes were bighearted man of the west, barry goldwater and ronald reagan.
those liberal pundits scanning to heavens for a genuine conservative magazine, all those many years ago, never recognized the genuine article when it came marching down the pike. but here we are, 50 years later lunging at the headquarters of the heritage foundation at eight meeting that sports a conservative newspaper, a weekly conservative magazine, and as bill might say, a powerful conservative national cable news network. the tote board after the last couple of elections tells us one more thing, today, 50 years later, there are a lot fewer than them, the liberals, and a lot more of us. and helping to bring all of this about was a blast. thank you. [applause]
>> we are so happy you wrote this history. michelle easton: do we have a mic here? oh good. okay, i will let you call on people if you would not mind getting your name and affiliation. this is noel, one of our interns at the clear public institute. she is going to take the mic for anyone that has a question. >> let me ask one. includedat all of the years that national review, you had fun times with her? priscilla buckley: bill has a wonderful story about one time going to have dinner with
clare and harry luce finding them both finding them editing his letter for national support. they wanted to give it the right gloss. she came to us and wanted to write for us. the first piece she wrote for us was about vietnam. she called it the lady's niot for burning. it was a wonderful piece. unfortunately it came 4-5 days after the kennedy assassination which followed news assassination. she was very kind to us, and very helpful. she wrote for us a great deal. i will tell you another little story. i want visited patricia baldrige in rome when clare was the ambassador there. i got this invitation, gold
embossed, which i loved it, it was " the ambassador and myr. booth invites you." [laughter] it was a reception for four cardinals. she came in just a minute late. she was dressed in the most beautiful cream lace gown, very simple, but it had a crimson cardinal sash. she made the evening. [laughter] any other questions? >> my name is erica with the heritage foundation. i still find that as a conservative woman i'm all
expected to be on the other side of politics, just as a woman in general, even though the movement has grown so much and we have lunches like this, which are wonderful. i wouldn't mind if you would comment on what it was like as a woman in a conservative in your time, particularly your experiences as a woman and say managing editor -- as a managing editor. i imagine you did not have too many female colleagues at that point. priscilla buckley: no, i did not. i was in a strange situation with the feminist movement because one of my dearest friends at smith college was betty for. [laughter] she was the editor of the paper and i was working on the college newspaper. in fact, when he set up a meeting -- when betty set up the meeting to establish the national organization of women
she phoned me and asked me if i would like to be one of the founding mothers. i said, tell me one thing is the main thing that you're going to be talking about abortion? and she said yes. and i said, i am not going to be a founding mother. but i was very sympathetic with betty. when i started working during the second world war things were so anti-feminine in the workplace that, for instance, if i had gone to new york city instead of smith college, and time like a fortune looking for a job, and my brother jim had gone it becameat the same time looking for a job, i could have applied for a job as a researcher, and jim could have applied for a job as a writer, but no woman would be have considered in that they as a researcher. -- unit at day as a researcher. i was more sympathetic towards
feminism when they were praising, they did. they think if you're a woman you must be pro-abortion and p ro-equal pay for the same job all those kinds of things. i think most women are not especially now that they found being a career woman and a mother is not all that easy to do. >> my name is ivy, i am here with human events. i was wondering who do you see as leaders of the conservative movement today? within the political realm either within the office or out? priscilla buckley: oh, gee. i don't know.
you have the columnists and the writers, but i can't think in politics of anyone that i particularly like. [laughter] that is an interesting question. can anyone else have a suggestion? [laughter] i think the kind of work that this foundation is doing is wonderful to produce the kind of women -- as a matter of fact, louise oliver's mother is the kind of one i would like to see seriously impolitic. she is now the ambassador to unesco in paris. she has done all of that on her own baidu being just terrific. -- by being just terrific. she's the kind of woman i would like to see in politics. >> anybody else?
>> gloria, i've retired from heritage. we subscribe to national review initially and 15 years out of the philadelphia area, we never received an issue that did not have the cover torn. i think they were trying to send us a message. priscilla buckley: good heavens. >> we want to thank you so much. [applause] >> i want to give you a copy of our clare boothe luce with a mug saying "no good deed goes
unpunished." the president of heritage wanted to be with us today, but he is in a new york speaking at a luncheon on his newew book. he wanted to present this inscribed copy. we are presenting it with his admiration and affection. priscilla buckley: he is a wonderful guy. >> thanks again. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv. 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter at c-span history. for information on our schedule of upcoming programs and to keep up with the latest history news. in 2003, new york times reporters to lose never --
judith miller wrote several stories on the lead up to the war in iraq and weapons of mass destruction. she was found in contempt of court and imprisoned white dick cheney in a federal jail for 85 days. sunday, on q&a, she talks about her time in jail, as well as her new book "the story: a reporter's jounrrney." >> i was in jail because i hefrefused to reveal the identity of the source that did not want to be revealed. protecting sources is the lifeblood of independent journalism. i really felt that unless the people that i routinely spoke to who had access to classified information, unless they could trust me to protect them, my sources would dry up and eventually i would be just writing what the government wanted you to write. i felt this was a question of
principle, that i did not have much choice. >> sunday night at eight eastern and pacific, on c-span's q&a. -- 8:00 eastern and pacific. >> congress established the veterans history budget in 2000 as part of the american folk line center at the library of congress. the oral histories collected from veterans around the country are available to the hundred -- to the public through their website. is our look at congressman who served through military, we hear from former punishment daniel akaka. -- former congressman daniel akaka. he talks about growing up in hawaii and witnessing the attack on pearl harbor, how that affected native hawaiian and let into serving in the army corps of engineers. he also discusses the g.i. bill and discussing american veterans. it is about one hour and 15 minutes.
interviewer: what do you recall with your family about what the war in asia and the war in europe -- things that were going on there, and maybe the possibility that the u.s. might get involved? senator akaka: let me start, since i mentioned abraham, he was in amsterdam. he got caught when the were corrupted in europe, when germany invaded the country, it really became a topic for the family to talk about, about germany and what the germans were trying to do. of course, it was in europe. as far